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Causes and Effects of Obesity

Causes of Obesity

There are many causes of childhood obesity. One of the most prominent causes of childhood obesity is the combination of lack of exercise/physical activity and poor eating habits. When children have poor eating habits and do not participate in the recommended amount of exercise to burn those extra calories that is when they become at risk of becoming overweight or obese. Only 1 in 5 children regularly participate in after school programs that involve physical activity, including sports. Poor eating habits also include poor snacking habits. Most Americans eat enough snacks to equate to a fourth meal during a day. This would not be a problem but children do not take enough time to excercise during the day. It is commonly thought that most overweight children spend most of their time playing video games or in front of a TV rather than excercising. It has been shown that children who spend more than four hours a day watching television are indeed more likely to be overweight. Also, while watching television, children are often exposed to hundreds of advertisements for unhealthy snacks that they then are tempted to try. Most often they eat these snacks while sitting and watching television. The more television that is being watched means the less excercising and socializing children are recieving.

Many children are put on fast food diets by their parents, eating at fast food restaurants more often then not. And while eating fast food too much is a problem that results in obesity, family behavior is even more important. Children learn their habits from their families, and that includes eating. Families that have a low income are often considered to be overweight or obese, because unhealthy foods tend to be less expensive then those foods that are healthy. They then stock up on the cheap, unhealthy foods and start teaching poor eating habits.

Heredity is also a factor in children becoming obese and overweight. It does not however, account for most cases of childhood obesity. Most people believe that having an overweight parent or parent’s means there will be overweight children. However, most children learn the poor eating habits from their parents and just continue them, become overweight on their own. But, saying that obesity is “genetic” is not likely, because there is no fat gene, so to speak.

Most researchers agree that obesity is a result of different factors such as lack of exercise, poor eating habits, economic status, and what some would consider “heredity”.

Effects of Obesity

Obesity in children has many effects. One of the most well known, but least thought about is the fact that obese children are more likely to be obese as adults. With this being said, obesity has many physical effects on the body. Some of the most serious diseases that can result from obesity include cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Also, with these diseases comes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These diseases are not only present in obese children, but obese adults and can carry over form childhood to adulthood. Many of the diseases that result from obesity do not have cures.

Along with the physical effects, obesity also has many psychological side effects. With our nation promoting a healthy lifestyle and slim body images, there are many misconceptions about being obese. Many students take this opportunity to tease overweight students or treat them differently. Some overweight children are left out of activities and feel isolated from the rest of their group. This can lead to depression and self esteem issues.

As you can see, obesity is a very serious issue, especially when present in children. That is why we have created this website, to help show how obesity can occur and what can happen once a person is obese.